What chemistry software, books, etc. should I get with my grant?
July 13, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

What chemistry software, books, etc. should I get with my grant?

I received a $500 grant to buy anything to use for my research (I am in a PhD Chemistry program). What are some software packages (Mac), books, etc. that any PhD chemist finds indispensable? I already have Papers, ChemDraw Ultra, and DataGraph.
posted by stevechemist to Education (13 answers total)
Having professional-quality publishing software can help make papers and posters. Adobee Illustrator for figures, and InDesign for laying out posters (sooooooo much better than doing it in PowerPoint as most of my colleagues do). Depending on what kind of chemist you are, Photoshop might be useful. Be sure to get educational pricing!
posted by grouse at 9:04 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Do you often do calculations for your work? A license to Mathematica or Matlab could be very useful. Often there are student discounts.
posted by medusa at 9:41 AM on July 13, 2011

What kind of chemistry are you doing? Answers will greatly depend on your dicipline.

What about a student membership to the ACS or a diciple society like SETAC?
posted by bonehead at 9:55 AM on July 13, 2011

I am in materials chemistry working on organic polymer solar cells.
posted by stevechemist at 10:10 AM on July 13, 2011

And I already have a membership to ACS and MRS.
posted by stevechemist at 10:10 AM on July 13, 2011

Papers is probably going to be one of your most useful tools. Good bibliography software is vital. Any calculation software you need should be provided through your school and goes out of date quickly anyway. I'd buy only in consultation with your advisor or senior post-doc first. You don't want to double buy or get something you don't need.

Rather than more software, I'd look at books. There were always a bunch that I wanted but could not afford as a student. Classics like Tufte (visual design), the collection of the Feynman Lectures (aging a little, but a real eye-opener to read), Cotton (still one of the most readable intros to group theory), "Cotton and Wilkinson" (a great inorganic text), Messiah (basic QM) were all books I coveted. I've got most of them now and I still refer to them. Math doesn't go out of date.

Talk to your advisor, post-docs and other professors. I'm sure there are some classics in surface and polymer science---but those are not my diciplines.
posted by bonehead at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2011

Are you going to do any serious modeling? Then matlab or mathematica would be useful.
posted by overhauser at 2:29 PM on July 13, 2011

EndNote, or similar. It works with Papers, but it is not Papers.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:46 PM on July 13, 2011

Please check what software and books are available through your university library before blowing grant money on it!
posted by unknowncommand at 8:59 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you use it to go to a conference?
posted by maryr at 9:09 PM on July 13, 2011

Oh, and seconding EndNote.
posted by maryr at 9:09 PM on July 13, 2011

Especially EndNote or other bibliographic management software!
posted by unknowncommand at 11:02 PM on July 13, 2011

I'm moving into LaTeX myself, so I'd say look at BibTeX before shelling out money for Endnote. Free, and all the journal websites I've seen support it.

You can use LaTeX to do posters & slides, but honestly I don't think it does that great a job, so some software for that might be a good idea.

Books are where I would go- See what the library has first, but stuff you reference a lot might be helpful to have on hand. There is an excellent German inorganic text that runs about $300 and is on its 90-somethingth edition that I'd love a copy of.
posted by Canageek at 11:07 PM on July 13, 2011

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